An anthology of poems and prose

We are delighted to announce our new anthology Water Courses: Rivers, Canals; Wildlife; Crafts and People – now available as a downloadable PDF.

The anthology is collection of writing inspired by an online creative writing workshop in the summer of 2021 entitled ‘Rivers of Kendal’ and facilitated by Geraldine Green, Writer-in-Residence, Quaker Tapestry Museum. This project has been kindly supported by Kendal Town Council as part of our ‘Fabric of Kendal’ project.

The mixture of poems and prose explores the link between people and waterways, offering a fresh perspective on the importance of place.

Geraldine Green says,

“This workshop, ‘The Rivers of Kendal’, was meant to have taken place in 2020, as part of a series of four workshops at the Quaker Tapestry Museum, Kendal. However, covid-19 put paid to that and it was decided to hold at least one workshop via Zoom, which we did, on 17 July 2021. It worked really well, attracting newcomers to the workshops as well as regulars.

Themes for the workshop evolved into rivers and canals; wildlife who live in, on and around water; crafts and people. It’s always enjoyable for me to do some research around themes and come up with prompts and handouts relating to them. This workshop was no exception and some fine poems and prose pieces grew out of it.

Kingfisher with Lamprey Ⓒ Tommy Holden, Cumbria Wildlife Trust

For some participants this was the first event that they had attended since the pandemic began in March 2020.

I’d like to thank each one of the workshop participants whose writing forms this rich anthology. You’re all stars, thank you! Big thanks to Bridget Guest, General Manager at the Quaker Tapestry, who put her trust in me to deliver the workshop via Zoom. It was fun!

We may not have been in the same actual, physical place, i.e. the Quaker Tapestry Museum, but we were all there, sharing cyber space, giving energy, laughter, time and creativity. To round the workshop off Bridget sang her lovely, lilting song ‘One, Two, Three’, that so poignantly captures the fragility of life.

Thanks also go to the Quaker Tapestry Museum, Cumbria Wildlife Trust for generously sharing superb photos of wildlife and to Kendal Town Council whose funding is invaluable to these workshops. Thank you.
So, over to you readers! We hope you get as much pleasure from this anthology as we did in creating it.”


Click this image to download a PDF of the Anthology

A participant says,

“For a number of reasons I’ve found it very difficult to indulge myself in such a focused way for a long while, but to be integrated into a group of strangers in a relaxed and encouraging way gave me such a sense of peace that I know I will benefit from whenever I reflect on the day. Perhaps I could call it a sprinkling of ‘Meeting House Magic’.”

To give you a flavour of the varied works in the anthology, here are two additional poems from the workshop:

Start Right

I stand on the platform with my brother,
stare at the advert curving up the wall
of two young kids holding hands as they walk
along a winding road towards a wood.

I have no memory of wearing lace ups.
My swim suit’s in my shoulder bag,
so maybe it’s summer. My shoes were sandals
on other holidays but I can’t date this journey

so can I start right? I was holding hands
with my brother. He did have laces,
I wore sandals. Are both made by Start Rite?


I’m with four children buying shoes at Street
since they are out of shoes so quick
they need new at a discount
and the family were on holiday in Somerset.

Richard Carpenter


One summer
tarmac laid its smooth tongue to our front door
lapping the low wall dividing
us from our neighbours,
where my mother stood for what seemed hours
talking to Glenda
her stilettos sinking slowly
below the rolled oily surface
leaving a gossip of perfect circles
punched out along the boundary.

Ilse Pedler

Look out for our upcoming workshops, starting next summer and we hope you enjoy reading the anthology as much as Geraldine and the participants enjoyed writing them!

Ⓒ Cumbria Tourism

Further Information

If you enjoyed reading this article, check out some of our other blog posts:

Find out about our new Hidden Gem award from Visit England

Read about the 27-year tenure of our retiring General Manager, Bridget Guest

Discover the fascinating story of the pioneering scientist John Dalton

Learn about how Stramongate School helped the First World War effort through gardening and land work

Supporting the Quaker Tapestry

We hope you have enjoyed reading our ‘Hidden Gem’ blog and gained an insight into the work that goes into making our visitor experience so special.

We couldn’t accept and care for our tapestries and other wonderful artefacts without our dedicated Care and Conservation team. However we need your help to…

– Create an improved database of the extensive Quaker Tapestry collection of supplementary items

– Develop a new display for the hallway

– Develop best practice of the Care and Conservation volunteers through further training

Your donation will help us achieve our goals and ensure the longevity of the exhibition and collection. Please consider making a donation

Alternatively, if you are interested in purchasing a festive gift why don’t you check out our online shop?

Quaker Tapestry Facts

The colourful tapestry panels measure 63.5cm x 53.3cm and are made using a mix of five ancient stiches and a new one, invented for the project. Embroiderers around the world now use the ‘Quaker Stitch’.

World traveller and writer Alexander McCall Smith, says they’re one of the ‘six best tapestries’ to see in the world.

The panels help you find out about famous scientists, engineers, bankers, botanists and non-conformists who pioneered industrial welfare, fair trade, prison reform, peace work and anti-slavery initiatives. Many were Cumbrians.

Begun in 1981 and completed in 1996, they’re the work of 4,000 men, women and children from around the world. Some of the panels made journeys of thousands of miles as they passed from one group of people to another.

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“Embroidery was the medium that provided the opportunities for this experiment in education, communication and community experience.”

Anne Wynn-Wilson, founder of the Quaker Tapestry